2015 Roundup

I kept putting this off in December hoping I could finish some things, but that didn’t happen. Then I was kind of bummed because 2015 wasn’t very productive in terms of measurable things. I did do a lot and kept very busy, but not in the way of  “I made xxx amount of things awesome!”

And the things I did make were different from my usual fare (such as branching out into gardening [very time consuming], canning [ditto], baking [yup, same], and home improvement [ooooh yes]), and I spent a lot more time reading last year and attempting to work out (uuuugh, why doesn’t sewing burn more calories?).

But! I feel like 2015 laid the groundwork for loads of productivity in 2016! Especially in the sewing department, as I got close to finishing a lot of WIPs so those should be wrapping up in 2016.

So, here are some highlights of 2015!


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November Happenings!

I have loads of little things in progress right now, but nothing finished just yet so it feels like I’m doing nothing >.<

So here’s just a smattering of pics of two things I’ve been working on.

I posted this pic in one of the random pic posts before. The stooooory is, in December 2010 I went to Japan and thought I should make myself a lovely coat to wear there. This is as far as I got, that’s the liner in the pic, but the shell is at the same spot. When I went to set the sleeve I reeeeeally didn’t like the shape of the sleeve head, but I didn’t really have time to mess about with drafting a new one, and I wanted to add some things, aaaand I ended up getting a lovely wool coat on holiday sale anyway.

It’s B5425 from Butterick btw, view C cut at A’s length (also note, it’s going to hit just above the knees on me and I shortened it a few inches from the A cutting length, so it runs long).

Anyway, so got that other coat, folded this up to finish later aaaand… never got around to it ;_;
I’m very much deadline driven, so I have loads of half finished “real” clothes that get pushed aside for costumes or presents that have to be made at a certain time. It’s been sort of nagging at me since I moved though. Then one of the bloggers I read sometimes posted about finishing a quilt she started in 1991 and I was like whoa, I do NOT want that to happen to me! I need to go through my bins and finish what I want to finish and toss what I don’t.
Then I started to read Lladybird’s blog, and she has an excellent post on how she sews so much, and I realized that I *am* at my most productive when I do those things, I’d just never really thought about it before. But one of the things she doesn’t do, that I clearly do (did?), is allow UFOs! (UnFinished Objects)

So that long story really is just to say, I’m going to finish this coat XD

That fabric is like … twill weight. Which is nice, but not really coat-y. So I went to Joann to get some flannel to underline it with, and it happened to be 50% off, scooore.

More pics and rambling after the cut!

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Misc Pics Catch Up!

Realized it’s been a bit since a posted! Part of the fault is I started using instagram in… August I think and so my random pics go there and I forget to put them here. Also I still haven’t done anything about my camera :/ I know that it’s me not wanting to face if all those pics really are gone ;_; But… I really should find out.

Anyway, so I tend to take random housey pics on my ipad mini anyway. So here’s some pics from September! I’ll do October in another post.

This was probably one of my last batch of refrigerator pickles, my cucumbers fiiiinally gave up the ghost a few weeks ago (no joke, I must have gotten hundreds from those plants!) and I pulled them up and planted chard, beets, and carrots there.

Lots more after the break!


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Farewell Green/White Regency Shoot

Man I’ve been meaning to post these for ages. But for various reasons never got around to it.
Anyway! Last year I was thinking, really four Regency dress is a bit much when I have two more planned, so I decided to sell my first one.
Doris was awesome and did a photoshoot for me so I’d have lovely photos to use for etsy. It sold, right when I was getting ready to post it and signal boost, but the pictures turned out so nice I wanted to post them anyway!

We shot at Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto, and my sister Elizabeth did my wig and makeup so that Doris could take some good shots for her portfolio.

More after the cut!


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Sewalong Challenge #8 Complete

Whoohoo, finished one!
I’ve been so far behind this feels like a huge victory XD
It wasn’t what I meant to do, and the whole thing took me maybe 20 minutes, but, it fulfills the challenge so I’ll take it.

Some time ago some friends bought me this teeshirt:

It’s a little hard to tell because of the lighting but… it’s tan. 
I appreciated the thought, ’cause as they well knew I love Magneto. But I don’t care for brown. The only brown thing in my wardrobe is my jedi cloak, and that’s only allowed because… jedi cloak.
So I folded it up and put it aside until I could decide what to do with it. My original thought was to make a red backpack with purple trim and cut out the picture and applique it to it. But when I got it out earlier this month along with a bunch of other teeshirts I’d set aside to refashion (funnily, I was actually looking for a different shirt from the same friends in particular) the print was much larger than I’d remembered. Aaaaand I decided I just didn’t like it enough to go through all the effort of making a cute backpack.
I recently started following Matt from the Great British Sewing Bee at Sew What’s New (if you haven’t watched that show, you should, it’s full of really lovely, nice, creative people. I’m particularly fond of the history bits, and Patrick), and he posted a tee shirt refashion just this month.
I’ve seen these tee shirt bags before, but his tutorial is a nice clear one and I hadn’t thought of zigzagging the edges to prevent overstretching.
Anyway, so I did that.

Challenge #8, Something Geek Inspired, done!
Also it’s a refashion, so technically Challenge #6 done also 8D

And bonus, yesterday’s harvest:

Water Bottle Holder Tutorial

So I’ve been pretty scatter brained lately (uuuuh… the last two years…) and making stupid mistakes in my sewing, just from not paying attention. I’ve found that running a mental commentary as if I were making a tutorial really helps me stay focused. So when I was making this, I thought why not just actually make it a tutorial?
Plus sometimes it helps to try to figure out how to put things into words rather than vague hand gestures.
So any C&C would be welcome!

My gramma asked me to make her a new insulated water bottle holder, she had this one she’d bought that either was for her old water bottle or she’d just bought it not knowing if it’d fit or… something. I’m really not sure. Point is it didn’t fit the water bottle she uses now.
Fortunately, we have the same water bottle! This one from Target (coincidentally, we even bought the same colour). So I measured the base and the height and made a mockup for my own water bottle. I say mockup, what I mean is I just went for it 8D;; And made some adjustments to her’s.

Anyway! You will need:
– Two 7.5″ x 22″ pieces of fabric (I’m using quilting cotton scraps) for lining and shell
– One 7.5″ x 22″ insulation piece (I just have whatever they had at the quilt store, I think it’s Insul-Bright)
– Two 2″ x 8.25″ pieces of fabric for the cording channel
– Two 2″ x 5″ pieces of fabric for the tabs
– Two 1″ x 5″ pieces of interfacing for the tabs
– Two 16″ pieces of cording

– One 7.5″ x 9.5″ “Base,” if using directional fabric like I did cut two 7.5″ x 5″ pieces

Seam allowance is .25″ unless otherwise stated.

Continued after the break!

So I did my best to make this reversible, but really… I probably won’t reverse it and neither will my gramma. Take the piece of fabric you like better, or you think will be on the outside the most, and pin it all around to the insulation.

Sew all the way around the edges, you can just baste it. Make sure you’re stitching inside your .25″ seam allowance.
And while you’re at it, sew you’re two base pieces together.

Aw pretty.
Press your shiny new seam flat.

Then as long as you’re ironing, press a .25″ hem on both sides. I just sort of eyeball this, it’s not a strict .25″.

If you didn’t do a center seam, mark your center with some pins.

Mark the center of your insulated piece, I just stick a pin in both sides, I’m not sure you can really see that here.

From there lay your base piece over it, matching centers.

Pin that down, then stitch it down close o the edge. Non basting stitch here, ’cause you’ll see it!

Now fold that sucker in half, short sides to short sides, and stitch up your long sides.

Do the same to your liner piece.

Once those side seams are sewn, pinch the corners flat, measuring 1.5″ from the point:

Mark that with pins or a pen, I feel like it’s easy enough with pins, but then my line probably isn’t super straight.

Stitch across that corner, doing the same to the other corner and both corners of your liner.

Awesome, it’s a bag!
Snip off all four of those corner triangles approximately .25″ from the seam.

Now turn your attention to the tabs!
Iron a piece of 1×5″ piece of interfacing to the center of your tab fabric.

Nevermind how uneven mine is, I just used scrap interfacing 8D;;
Next iron that in half long wise, wrong sides together.
Once you have that center crease, iron your raw edges to it.

I had to hold it shut for the photo because since I didn’t have an exact cut piece of interfacing it didn’t want to stay whoops.
Now iron it in half again, so the raw edges are enclosed. Pin that up for stitching!

Man that ironing board cover is dirty….
As long as your ironing though!
Grab your liner and iron a .25″ hem in all around the opening.

And take your channel pieces and iron in a tiny rolled hem on the short sides.

Take your channel and tab pieces to the sewing machine!
Stitch the hem into the channel pieces, and stitch down both sides of your tab pieces.

Now fold your tabs in half and just pin them for now. Do the same with the channel pieces, pinning the long side.

Okay, take your insulated piece and flip it right side out.
Pin the tab pieces at the two side seams, and the channel pieces over that, with the openings at the side seams.

Stitch all the way around that opening, you may want to go over the tab bits a few times.
Press the channel/tabs up and drop your lining in.

Pin the lining in all the way around, matching the ironed edge to your stitching line, or just over it.

From the outside, top stitch just under the seam.

You should be able to see the pins well enough to take them out as you sew, but just in case, I sewed mine holding it like this:

Run your cording through the channels aaaaand, you’re done!

Here’s her holder with mine. Idk why it looks taller, it’s exactly the same size.
Anyway, after making mine I decided that I wasn’t sure how I liked the solid colour, so I added the base to my gramma’s.

 Fully lined! And hypothetically reversible.

The tabs are so you can hook a carabiner on (what I intend to do) or ad a removable strap (what I plan to make later for my gramma, but don’t have the hardware for right now).

Sewalong Challenge #8 Inspiration – Something Geek Inspired

Augh, in my mind it was “Something Quilted” and I was already sad because I didn’t finish my quilt for the WIP challenge (truth be told, I hardly touched it) and I’ve been thinking of it for like a week now. While I’m doing dishes, while I’m gardening… while I’m at work…. wondering what I could possibly quilt that’s not actually my quilt.

I even thought about quilting my sister’s quilt! Which she started last month, and is already at the quilting stage. She’s 12 years younger than me, so it’s making me feel like a slacker!

But today… I actually looked at the chart. “Something Quilted” is for December!
September is “Geek Inspired.”

Which actually might be more challenging ’cause where do I even start? I have SO MANY “geek” sewing plans.

Technically, my Game of Thrones Messenger Bag fulfills this challenge (and July’s refashion challenge!) but, new things!

But in the bags vein, I have several SDCC bags I’d like to refashion, I don’t have pics of all of them but here are two I remember:

 These bags are huge and refashion really nicely.

I’d also like to inject some more general geek into my wardrobe, but we’ll see!

Observations from first underwater shoot!


Doris got some underwater camera gear a bit ago, she’s rented the gear before and done a few shoots, you can see them here.

For the preggers one I did do some minimal assisting, so I *thought* I was reasonably familiar with the whole underwater thing.

Lemme tell you it is WAY different being in front of the camera.

Behind the camera, you’re pretty much focused on one thing: getting the shot. Not that it isn’t hard, you have to keep yourself down in the water and there are other water things to struggle with.


So this “shoot” was a “let’s play with your equipment!” test.

We wanted to test how an umbrella maneuvers in the water, and how a night time shoot would look.


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Jareth progress pics

I miss posting!
I still haven’t tried to recover all those photos :/ I need to figure out a dedicated time to try, which is the real problem.

In the meantime, pictures I took on my ipad mini!

That’s the next pic I have unfortunately. The paper taped on the front was so AJ could draw roughly where his weird bone chest piece goes and the size on me.
She also drew the approximate lines on the muslin sleeve, but then we both decided that sleeve head shape wasn’t right. So I ended up using sleeve from Simplicity 2341 afterall, I just cut it in it’s largest size for a bit more fullness at the head.

More after the break!

Because all the stretch velvet is backed with denim, I didn’t want to have all the layers in the armpit and did more muslins to figure out my layering.

I’m not sure why I took this. Maybe to show the curves are slightly different?
Oh wait I remember! Originally I thought the sleeve was a regular sleeve with bias strips making the stripes, but it’s actually scale/petal style. So this is the original sleeve, salvaging what I can (so glad I overbought!).

I cut a regular sleeve out of some plain black I had in my stash, and mounted each layer to that. That little dip there is ’cause this is from the original sleeve.

You can see the slight S curve here, the top is the front side. Though once it’s on, it’s hardly noticeable.

This is the underside of each piece (except the bottom most). Just in case you saw the underside, I wanted it to be pretty!

Getting the vinyl around that S curve was a pain, as such it’s not totally even >.< But, since you can’t tell once it’s on, I guess it doesn’t matter!

Yessss, one side done!

Sewn up (ahaha, this is my instagram pic)

And attached to the jacket!

Plus collar!
I couldn’t really pin this shut without marking up the vinyl, hence wrinkles from it falling open.

Then I made some cuffs. I did them this way because it was the only way I could figure to get the vinyl bias to look right.

Then hand tacking the sleeve lining in!

I sewed all my hook & eyes on during the drive down to Costume College, but didn’t get it completely done because the paint I used on the bone chest piece just wasn’t drying so I couldn’t attach it.
Also! Since I was sewing until the last minute, I didn’t have time to do a makeup test D:
So I did this on the fly, and have already identified all the things that need to be fixed for next time.

Lovely bathroom lighting.
He’s wearing some sort of weird… orangey nude lipstick. I don’t have any nude lipstick, so I tried to replicate it with white lipstick and foundation over that. Which worked the first time, then when I touched it up turned out way too white. Oh well.

A photo posted by AJ Wu (@ajmeows) on

Oh hey! Just found the embed code on instagram 8D;;

That “red carpet” was super scary and intimidating! Not doing that again.
But overall pretty pleased with how this Jareth turned out!
Now to finish it and take some decent photos.

I haven’t touched it since CoCo, doing more work on my house! So hopefully some pictures from that coming soon as well (I know everyone missed pictures of my beets, don’t lie to me).